News broke this week that Lindsay Lohan was ripped apart in a letter from the CEO of Morgan Creek Productions, the company producing the film she is currently working on: Georgia Rule.
I have no idea who this guy is (the CEO, James Robinson), but I already like him, because he is telling it like IT IS (even though they released another statement today saying it is "OK for her to party on her own time").
HOW RIDICULOUS is this situation?
I mean, seriously... the girl is on a downward spiral, and props to this CEO guy for calling it out. Ever since her rise to fame and her break-up with Wilmer Valderamma, who, for the life of me I can't figure out why girls think is a catch, Lindsay has been on a wild rollercoaster ride through the tabloids.
Let me now recap that ride for you - and I am well aware that I am leaving out many things:
Dramatic weight loss
I had actually been a big fan of Lindsay after seeing Mean Girls (ALONE by myself in the theater, at that!). I thought "Wow, she is really beautiful and seems like a normal person with potential to be a great actress."
Then last summer she had to go and do the oh-so-TIRED Extreme Weight Loss schtick and dye her hair bleach blond. Good God, she looked like crap. And of course there was the typical, "I'm just growing out of my baby fat!" lame-ass excuses along with "I'm just so busy that I burn all these calories every day - trust me, I eat!"
Sistah, PLEASE! There is only one way in Hollywood that you go from being "still skinny for a normal person, but acceptable in photos" to "Skeletor" in a matter of months. Apparently certain cast members of Saturday Night Live staged an intervention with her during the period of time she was practicing to host the show. Now, when the peeps at SNL think you're in trouble, you know it's bad!?!?! They don't exactly have a good record of keeping people healthy in Studio 8H.
Then Lindsay actually copped to bulimia in Vanity Fair, which I respected. Oh, but wait! She quickly did a complete 180 after the magazine was published and denied it?!?! Who is this girl's PR rep??? They must be fired!
Few friends in the industry
Cutey-pie DJ Qualls, who played Hurley's mousy friend on Lost and himself in Hustle 'n Flow, is not a fan of Ms. Lohan.
Nor are Paris Hilton and Brandon Davis, who notoriously shredded her to pieces in this video. I actually felt bad for her after watching it.
White Lines ain't just a song by Grandmaster Flash...
But then again, NOT REALLY. No, now that I think about it, I don't feel bad for multi-millionaire spoiled brats who have every opportunity in the world in front of them, and then screw it up by getting messed up with hard-core drugs. Yes, you read that right... just like Britney sang, Lindsay's "not that innocent!"
Read this, this and this, and tell me I'm wrong. Morgan Mayhem is a thinly-veiled reference to Lindsay, by the way. Notice the same two letters for the first and last names of the "nickname," and then remember that Morgan is LiLo's middle name...
Perhaps the biggest problem Lindsay has is a mother who is in complete denial, on top of trying to live vicariously through her famous offspring. Dina Lohan has lashed out at Morgan Creek Productions, defending her daughter's behavior and coming close to accusing them of cruel and unusual punishment.
But I fear that Lindsay's acting chops are SO good that she has fooled even her own mother.
Check out this quote from Dina:
"Lindsay was in 105 (degree weather) saying, 'Mommy, I feel sick; like I am going to faint.' She took herself to the hospital. She has asthma and in extreme cold or heat you can't breathe."
Uh... Dina. I hate to break this to you, but: 1) When your 20-year-old daughter calls you "Mommy," she is trying to win your sympathy, remind you of when she was just a little bitty girl and distract you from the real situation... and it looks like it worked, and 2) If her asthma problem is THAT bad, why is she seen constantly chain-smoking nearly every single day? Hmmmmm?
I hope it all works out for Lindsay, I really do. I am sure it must be tough to grow up in the spotlight and be surrounded by people just trying to get a piece of her success. Her new boyfriend, Harry Morton, supposedly doesn't drink or use drugs, and she claim he's a "great influence" on her...
Sounds like she needs the help...
Monday, July 31, 2006
News broke this week that Lindsay Lohan was ripped apart in a letter from the CEO of Morgan Creek Productions, the company producing the film she is currently working on: Georgia Rule.
I have been completely fascinated by the drama unfolding around the divvying up of the late TV producer Aaron Spelling's estate.
Let me break the situation down for you, which, if nothing else, proves what Diddy (or, at that point in time, Puff Daddy) said best many years ago:
"Mo' money, mo' problems."
Here is the deal:
1) Aaron Spelling's estate is worth anywhere from $500 - $656 million.
2) He was thought to have been struggling with Alzheimer's disease, and in fact, it is listed as one of the causes of death on his death certificate. Some say this may leave his will open to be contested legally, even though it actually has a "no contest" clause.
3) It was widely thought that his wife, nut-job Candy Spelling, was stepping out on Aaron with a "longtime family friend," Mark Nathanson, leading to bad blood between her and her children. Additionally, a few weeks ago it was reported that she planned to sell the 56,500 square foot (yeah, you read that right) family mansion for an estimated $150 million, which would apparently set all sorts of real estate records. Then she went on record to deny that she intended to sell the mansion. We will probably never know the real story.
4) Tori, the only daughter of Aaron and most recognized for her portrayal as the innocent and goofy 'Donna' on Beverly Hills, 90210 (one of her father's shows), had been in a long-standing family feud with her parents, which is thought to have begun over the fact that she divorced her first husband to be with a then-married man, who she later married (and this man now has very awkward tattoos of Tori all over his body). Tori reportedly finally introduced her new husband, Dean, to her father 11 days before his death, thus ending her feud with him, but had not yet reconciled with her mother.
5) Tori learns of her father's death FROM AN EMAIL on her blackberry FROM A FRIEND who heard about it on TV. Now, I don't really care what kind of problems a family has, that is just crappy. No one should learn that someone in their family has died, much less their father, from an email from a non-relative. Adding insult to injury, Candy left Tori's name off of the official statement from the family about Aaron's passing.
6) Last week, it was reported that Aaron's will was changed only two months ago, and because her mother Candy is the executor of Aaron's estate, Tori will get only .16% (POINT ONE SIX!) of the family's fortune - about $260,000 in cash and about $780,000 in investments. I could take the stance of "Well, that's still more than most people will ever have in their lifetimes," but I'm not going to... I'm going to take Tori's side on this one. Why? Because her mom is a doll collector (there is a MUSEUM for the DOLLS in the mansion???), and that just freaks me out (we ALL KNOW that dolls come to life at night and do bad things!!!). Additionally, I actually think that despite the gaping canyon on her chest, a sure sign of plastic surgery gone awry, Tori is a pretty normal person. Supposedly she never got any money from her parents in her adult life (aside from her first wedding, which was a multi-million dollar event), so the image the media often portrays of her as the "poor little rich girl" is not entirely accurate.
7) Another reason why I'm on Tori's side is this (according to magazine sources): "Spelling left a staggering $50,000 to his home decorator and $25,000 to Candy's personal manicurist."
Home Decorator: $50,000
Only daughter: $250,000 in cash, $780,000 in investments
Befuddled looks by normal people after reading this: priceless
So why, despite the entertainment value provided by its bizarre twists and turns, do I care about how this story all turns out? I'll tell you why. Because part of me still sees Tori as Donna Martin on 90210. And because one of the most horrifying moments I've seen on TV (not including actual real-life events, obviously) was during the Season Four 90210 finale, when Donna caught David cheating on her with his music producer, Ariel. This forever made me hate Brian Austin Green in real life, but also tainted the name Ariel, once associated with much happier things like The Little Mermaid. For whatever reason, I just bawled my heart out during that finale, and the memory of my reaction to that scene has stayed with me to this day. Here are some of the details of that infamous episode, for old time's sake: Brandon gets an internship in Washington DC, and Brenda infamously "goes to London to study acting" and is never seen again.
If you were ever a fan of this show, I HIGHLY encourage you to scroll through this episode summary list ... it is hilarious how many "issues" they covered (badly, at that) in this show. I also came across this page, which debates the exact point at which the show became really, really awful. But yet all of this still makes me yearn for the simpler days of my high school years, when we would all gather together to watch this show (you would not be let in unless you yelled "90210!!!!" really loudly after knocking on the front door) and then spend hours debriefing after each episode.
So Tori, or Donna, or whoever you are - give your crazy-ass mother hell... I hope you end up getting what is fair.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Hello my dear friends -
As you know, last weekend I went back to my old stomping grounds - Ann Arbor, Michigan - to see Clerks 2 with Nerdy P and to go to the Ann Arbor Art Fair. I had the best time I've had in a while... so allow me to share with you some insight into what I constitute as a "great weekend":
1) The train from Chicago to Ann Arbor was only a half-hour late.
Now, anyone who has ever taken Amtrak should know that that is either a miracle, or a sign of Armageddon. I used to take the train all the time and it was never less than 2 hours late... even getting up to 5 hours late. ONE time, in the dead of winter, the train's power completely shut down and we stopped on the track in the middle of a cornfield. I was like, "Oh, I am so going to die." I had already envisioned some scene out of Children of the Corn with Malakai busting through the train window and mauling me. Obviously that didn't happen and I survived, but my point is that the weekend got off to a great start because the train was actually fairly on time.
2) Six magazines down!
Those who have visited my condo know that I have a serious magazine-hoarding disorder. I subscribe to tons of magazines, and then my neighbor leaves me magazines he gets, and then I usually also get a lot from the gym. So I literally have a stack of hundreds of magazines in my front room. On the train ride there I got through 2 Us Weeklys, 1 Life & Style, 1 OK!, 1 Entertainment Weekly and 1 Real Simple (and those are big). Oddly enough, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I got off the train.
3) e's ideal dinner.
My friend picked me up from the train station and we went to dinner a little while later. One of the best things about having friends who accept all of your strange quirks is that you can do things like order a frozen strawberry margarita, a broiled scallop appetizer and a side of mac 'n cheese, call it a meal, and they will not be embarrassed by you in a restaurant. So that was my dinner and it was delicious and we had a fun time getting caught up and planning the coming two days.
4) Deep conversation.
"Dave Navarro looks like a girl!"
"I actually like Pamela Anderson."
"The Britney Spears/Matt Lauer interview was awesome - "We're COUNTRY!""
"The best is when Gordon Ramsey adds "YOU DONKEY!" when he's yelling at people on Hell's Kitchen."
"Star Jones looks like an alien."
These were the important topics and issues covered Friday night as we read a few more magazines before calling it a day.
5) Two good nights of sleep.
My overactive imagination and high rating on the "worrier" scale bring with them a wicked case of insomnia, typically. But I slept like a little baby at Nerdy P's, BOTH nights. Bliss. Bye bye extremely dark and puffy bags under my eyes!
5) The Art Fair and/or Wearing Shoes Thin Hauling Nerdy P All Around Campus.
I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the Ann Arbor Art Fair. I know diddly about art, so it has nothing to do with that. Basically I just love Ann Arbor, spent 4 of the best years of my life at the University of Michigan, and like to run around the campus and be able to justify eating a bunch of unhealthy food because I'm covering many miles by ensuring that I see ALL of my old classroom buildings and hang-outs. Poor Nerdy P was a good sport, smiling through "Do you mind if we just go over and look at the Business School?" ..."Oh, I just want to see if Mitch's is still there..." (it's not)... "Is Pizza House still there?" (it is), etc., etc. Five hours later, our feet were about to fall off, but I was a happy camper.
Then we had Clerks 2 to look forward to. But before I get into that, let me just review with you what I ate on Saturday, because quite honestly, it's amazing that I didn't throw up.
Breakfast: Ate at a great diner called Northside. Had my usual Earl Grey hot tea, and then two scrambled eggs, wheat toast, bacon and most of a buttermilk pancake.
Rest of day (continual eating, so there were no real "meals" after breakfast): Waffle cone of cookie dough ice cream at Stucchi's (I can't go to Ann Arbor and not get Stucchi's!!!), slice of cheese pizza at Backroom ("Holy Crap! It is STILL only $1?!?!?!?!"), Mrs. Field's FROSTED chocolate chip cookie ("I cannot resist this frosting, even though I think my stomach is going to explode..."), part of Nerdy P's lemonade from the art fair stand that is always there ("This is the best lemonade ever - not too sweet, not too watery"), hot pretzel at the movie theater ("I want the fresh one! Add salt!"), and then finally, a waffle cone with one scoop of fudge ice cream and one scoop of berry ice cream at Ben & Jerry's after the movie. If I could always eat like I did on Saturday and suffer no consequences, believe me, I would.
6) The Clerks 2 Experience.
Nerdy P and I had a loose bet about whether or not there would be a line for Clerks 2. As I have written about before, I am kind of a freak about getting in line early for a movie on its opening weekend. I was positive there would be a huge line. Nerdy P thought that that would only be the case in Chicago, but not at the theater in Ypsilanti where she had bought the tickets.
So we get to the theater ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES EARLY. There is definitely no line. I played three rounds of Area 51 (I have lost ALL my skills, so sad) and then one of Ms. Pac-Man (played respectably well at that), and then we settled into some chairs and read magazines (I always come prepared) until about 10 minutes before the movie.
We go show our ticket stubs and walk down the hall to theater 18. We noticed that unbelievably, there was a line outside theater 20 for "Lady in the Water," which has gotten HORRIBLE reviews. I was perplexed.
We walk into theater 18, and it's one of the HUGE screens. As we are heading up the side ramp, I say to Nerdy P, "You know, there could be a packed house in here because we actually might have waited too long."
We rounded the corner with bated breath... were we going to be able to find a seat???
We both just started dying laughing and I covered my head with my hands and slumped down over the railing. It was a very classic moment.
Literally about 10 seconds later, a group of people started filing in, and we realized that that line we saw actually WAS for Clerks 2, and we just totally blew by them (hey, the ticket-taker didn't say anything?!?!). Nerdy P overheard a few people grumbling about it. But the theater wasn't even 1/5th full, so it really didn't matter.
On to the movie itself... Hmmm... how to explain this... (and don't worry, I will give absolutely nothing away).
Nerdy P and I loved it. I thought the ending sequence (last 30 seconds or so) was especially BRILLIANT, and the last 15 minutes just pulled together many things in a very cool way. The beloved characters - Dante, Randal, Jay and Silent Bob, were exactly as they would be 12 years later, were they actually real people. So Kevin Smith definitely stayed true to the original. The new characters also fit in wonderfully.
Two highlights for me were:
1) A Ferris Bueller's Day Off "Twist & Shout"-esque scene in the middle of the movie, which came outta nowhere, and
2) An anti-Lord of the Rings rant by Randal, provoked by fellow burger-flipper Elias holding up an onion ring and chanting "ONE RING... to rule them all!!!!"
However, after saying all that, I think that Nerdy P and I are perhaps the only people I know who would like this movie, so I would not recommend it to anyone else. Well, except Uncle Grambo, who was lucky enough to interview Kevin Smith!
I think the only people who would like this movie have to fit the following criteria:
1) They must not only have liked the original movie, but they must have LOVED it and it must have remained in their "favorite movies of all time" list for the past 12 years. That's the kind of love I'm talkin' 'bout that is needed here.
2) They must have no aversion to extremely disgusting dialogue - because just like the first one, they held nothing back this time, and it actually got worse.
3) They must be between 31-35 years old (more on that later)
4) They must currently be going through or have recently gone through some sort of mid-mid-life crisis where they wondered if they were taking the right path with/making the right decisions in their life.
I strongly feel that the only people who will like this movie must fit all four criteria. I know that there is a group of people 5-7 years younger than me who liked the first movie, but I have a feeling that they will not like the sequel, because they just won't "get it." Why? Because unless you are in your 30s (as in, past 31), you most likely haven't needed to do much introspection about your career path or your life in general. When you turn 31, all of a sudden the novelty of the "big 3-0" wears off and you're like, "Oh, crap - I'm really technically an ADULT in every way shape and form now, even though I may not feel or act like one!" I would welcome comments from those who have seen the movie and liked it who didn't fit the four criteria. Prove me wrong!
7) Lazy Sunday.
On Sunday, we hung out until lunchtime, and then went to a really good place to eat - where I got... mac 'n cheese once again (I kind of get on "kicks" with my food) and a cheeseburger. Then we went to see "Lady in the Water," because we wanted to give ol' M. Night a chance despite the horrid reviews. I have loved ALL M. Night movies I've seen (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and The Village), and outside of The Sixth Sense, they all got bad reviews. I think people hold him to crazy-high expectations.
Anyway, we both did like the movie, but once again, I don't think most people would. To like this movie you need to:
1) Enjoy fairy tales
2) Tolerate M. Night's self-importance (he himself plays a major role in the movie, and also not-so-subtly bashes movie critics in a few key scenes)
3) Be able to completely suspend disbelief (as in, not be bothered by the fact that everyone just accepted the fact that there was a "Narf" in their complex's swimming pool rather than anyone suspecting she may just be some crazy chick on drugs...)
4) Have a lot of patience - the story unfolds tediously, and is fairly complicated
After the movie, we went back, read a few more magazines, and then I was on my way home to Chicago. The train was ON TIME; I'm still in shock over it! And, I finished all of the magazines I had brought with me (about 20), on top of getting a few chapters into a new book.
So there you have it, that's what I call a great weekend (the weather was also beautiful the entire time). Aren't you jealous?
Friday, July 21, 2006
The time has come, my friends, for a much anticipated movie: Clerks 2. Twelve years ago when the low-budget, black-and-white "Clerks" came out, it immediately gained a cult-like following, and I was one of the cult members. Anyone who has ever worked in any type of service industry could relate to Dante (who wasn't even supposed to BE there that day!) and Randal ("This job would be great if it wasn't for the *&^#ing customers."). Especially my friend Nerdy P, who used to work at a convenience store much like the one in "Clerks," and witnessed people obsessing over milk carton expiration dates (hey, *I* do that!), trying to find the perfect dozen eggs and asking stupid questions.
Her experience was even more exciting because the inconspicuous Dry Cleaners next door was busted one day by the police for fronting a prostitution ring?!?! In Nerdy P's words, "There were always really strange people coming in and out of that place..."
So this weekend, I travel back to Michigan to see Clerks 2 with Nerdy P. I cannot believe it's been 12 years, and I have a feeling that is going to be one of the main themes of the movie. What happened to the slacker clerks we so loved back in the day? What roads have they taken in life now that they're in their mid-30s? Somehow I think they haven't progressed TOO far...
If you haven't seen a trailer yet, you can pick one of many here.
The movie is getting good reviews, so my hopes are creeping dangerously higher. I will surely let you know how it was.
We were also going to see "Lady in the Water" by M. Night, but that is getting HORRIBLE reviews, so we may have to ponder that decision.
I will definitely cover a Pet Peeve of the Week on Friday next week -I was just too swamped this week to post much and didn't want to come back to you all complaining for the first new post in a few days.
Have a good weekend,
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Last week I went to the Damien Rice / Fiona Apple concert. I was really going only for Damien Rice... if you are not familiar with his music, they have played a few of his songs on "Lost" and also on the movie "Closer." He is from Ireland, and his album "O" is one of my favorites. So I was all excited for this concert - but alas, my expectations were not met. Here's why:
1) Loud, drunk, obnoxious people were completely surrounding me.
The concert was at 'Charter One pavilion on Northerly Island' - and while it was a cool location (on the lake, facing the city skyline), people basically acted like they were at their family reunion picnic rather than at a concert. I don't know if the open-air set-up exacerbated the loudness of the crowd, or if it would've seemed as loud had we been in a normal stadium, but I could barely hear the performers. Granted, most people around me seemed to be just waiting for Fiona to come on, but did they have to have their conversations so loudly and act completely oblivious to those around them actually trying to hear? I even shot "e's look of death" a few times at the people behind me, but they had one too many Coors Light Tall-boys in them to care and/or notice.
2) The use of the voice distortion gizmo by Damien Rice.
WHY WHY WHY do singers do this? Seriously, I don't get it. There's only one song that I can stand it on that I can think of (and it still took a while to get used to), and that's "Hide & Seek" by Imogen Heap. In Justin Timberlake's new song "SexyBack," he uses the distortion the ENTIRE song. I can see if someone has a horrible voice, but Damien Rice does not, and the fact that he used it on about 60-70% of the songs was extremely annoying, not to mention grating on the ol' eardrums. It was like he found a new toy that he wanted to show off or something.
3) Once again, the song set did not include what I wanted to hear.
So this happened at Madonna and Radiohead as well, as I wrote a month or so ago. With Damien Rice, he did not play his most famous song ("The Blower's Daughter"). He also did not play the majority of songs from his only album. I mean, COME ON. We GET that you are this non-mainstream Irish "artiste" and you're not a sell-out and you're not hugely commercial... THAT'S WHY we're all getting bitten to death by mosquitoes, sweating buckets while watching you perform at a random outdoor venue rather than at the United Center. But for the love of God, is it SO HARD to play the songs that made people want to come to your concert in the first place?!?!?! I can't take it.
Now on to Fiona Apple. Here is one mad little lady. Somebody done her WRONG! She is PISSED OFF and perhaps also a tad psychotic - never a good combination. When she was not growling into the microphone, pounding on the piano or tying her extremely long hair back into various shapes atop her head, she appeared to be talking to herself or yelling obscenities while stomping around the stage with the microphone away so we didn't really know what was going on.
It kind of took all attention away from her songs. I just kept thinking, "What is she going to do next?"
Also, I couldn't get past the fact that I thought she and Mary Kate Olsen were separated at birth. Look at this below, and then tell me I'm wrong.
If Fiona starts dressing in bag-lady clothes, then we will know that they ARE one in the same.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Sorry that I have been MIA (much like Suri Cruise) for a while - it was a hectic week and I was traveling over the weekend, so that always throws a wrench into things.
It is high time to talk about a big mystery that is captivating the nation - where is baby Cruise? As you all know, I am not a fan of this baby's father. There will one day be a post dedicated solely to him and his crazy ways. I was shocked to read that Mr. Freaky-Deeky himself was HERE in Chicago this past weekend. Good thing I wasn't in town - things could've gotten ugly!
But for now, we must turn our attention to little (supposedly) Suri Cruise. The baby that Tom could not stop talking about BEFORE it was born has now arrived - - - yet months later, no one has seen this child.
As in, no one.
The birth certificate was filed, but skeptics are picking it apart. Something that really jumped out at me (after reading the dissection of the certificate in various magazines) is that the doctor who (allegedly) delivered the baby did not sign the certificate. A nurse, who was not in the delivery room, signed it in his place (she is authorized to do so, though). They also filed it 20 days after the birth, rather than within the typically-required 10 day limit. And no one knows who the "friend" is who signed as the witness on the certificate - the signature is not legible.
Strange things are afoot ("... at the Circle K"), no doubt.
So what do I think? I honestly don't know what to think. Some people do not even believe there is a baby - they are confident that the whole thing is a scam and that the Cruise posse is searching, as I write this, to find a baby that looks like Katie or Tom to play the role of Suri.
Tom IS that crazy, for sure. But seeing the pictures of Katie during her pregnancy... it's not like she just had a growing stomach and everything else remained the same. Her face and arms put on weight, and I don't think you can just fake that. Gaining weight from overeating is not the same as gaining weight from being pregnant, from what I have seen. While I DO think the entire marriage is a sham and I'm not confident that the baby is actually Tom's (those topics will get their own posts in the future), I don't think they went so far as to fake a pregnancy and birth.
Which still leaves the question: Where is Suri, then?
The part of me that still always tries to find good in each person (despite all evidence to the contrary) hopes that maybe they are just trying to keep this poor child out of the spotlight for as long as possible. Tom's two other children, Isabella and Connor, were mostly shielded from the paparazzi until just recently. Some think that keeping the baby away from photogs may be an extension of Scientology beliefs (similar to the silent birth concept: keeping the baby in a calm atmosphere as much as possible).
However, the cynical side of me says that they are just holding out for a mega-bucks offer for pictures of Suri. I had read that Tom was mad that pictures of Shiloh Jolie-Pitt went for over $4 million, while offers on Suri pictures did not surpass $3 million. Yes, I realize that the previous sentence really makes you question the sanity of mankind.
So I think that by continuing to create this mystery around Suri, Tom thinks that he will succeed in upping the price that magazines would pay for a Suri photo spread.
Others beg to differ.
Regardless of the real reasons behind Suri's absence from the spotlight, one thing is certain - it's not helping Tom's already-suffering image.
The last thing I will say on this topic, for now, is that let's all just hope that for the sake of this baby, if she IS real, she is not being watched over by this woman.
Monday, July 10, 2006
As the temperature outside inches higher and the humidity skyrockets, the inevitable, important question arises - WHAT is the "Song of the Summer" for 2006? Yes, some people actually care about these things. Qualifications for song of the summer include: catchy tune and lyrics that either make no sense or have no substance. Basically something good to relax to, or to dance to.
If you think back to summers gone by, you will most likely remember certain songs that seemed to sum up the season, or even the year, for you. For example, when I was working at "The O.G." (The Olive Garden, for those not familiar with restaurant slang that I made up in the mid-nineties), every single day when I would drive to work, "Whoomp! There is it!" would play - sometimes multiple times within 20 minutes. Ever since that summer, any time I've heard that song I have associated it with garlic bread from The O.G, as well as my drive to and from work.
Similarly, the song "Hip Hop Hooray" is forever burned into my memory as the song played at the huge campus celebration when the Fab Five led the Michigan basketball team to the Final Four in 1993. I shall not speak of the infamous "faux time-out" that occurred a bit later...
Other summer songs of note include:
- Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (probably the #1 all-time best summer song)
- Hot in Herre - Nelly
- Let's Get it Started - The Black Eyed Peas
- Lean Back - Terror Squad
- Yeah! - Usher
- Crazy in Love - Beyonce
The list goes on and on. Now, I'm not saying I necessarily like all of these songs - I'm just reporting the facts according to Billboard's Top 40.
So what about this summer? Songs that have been thrown into the ring for consideration include:
- Ain't No Other Man - Christina Aguilera
- London Bridge - Fergie
- SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
- Crazy - Gnarles Barkley
- A Public Affair - Jessica Simpson. Uh, this isn't even out yet, so it can't count. Plus I don't like her.
But for me, it is a toss-up between "Hips Don't Lie" (Shakira and Wyclef Jean) and "Promiscuous" (Nelly Furtado and Timbaland) . The funny thing is, I don't like any of these singers on their own. But in their little duets together, they do alright. Some would argue that "Hips Don't Lie" came out too long ago to be considered a summer song, but it was just recognized as the most played song on the radio EVER, so obviously it is still around.
My criteria for Song of the Summer is that the song must actually make me want to sing it out loud and embarrass myself if it comes on my iPod when I am in a public place, such as on the El, walking home from work, etc. Both songs above qualify. The videos are also both high energy (even though I get slightly creeped out by Shakira's incessant belly-dancing). But hey, if you've got it, flaunt it, right?
Sunday, July 09, 2006
So as you know, I went to Pirates of the Caribbean on opening night - and while the movie wasn't as good as I hoped it would be, it was still worth going because we saw not one, not two, but THREE people dressed COMPLETELY like pirates. And my friend found a teeny toy sword on the ground going in, so that was a bonus.
I'm actually not going to talk that much about the movie itself in this post. Here is my brief "review" of the movie:
- At a tad over 2 hours and 30 minutes... it was too long.
- Although it was 'action-packed,' I still felt it moved too slow.
- It is worth seeing for Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), if nothing else. Every scene he was in was hilarious.
- I remembered why I was in love with Orlando Bloom in LOTR.
- They expected the audience to remember too much from the first movie. Everyone walked out of the theater saying things like, "Was that one guy from the end in the first movie?" "Were those two guys in the tiny boat from the first movie?" "Was that other guy with the wig supposed to marry Keira Knightley in the first movie, or was that guy the evil British Lord?"
- My own personal opinion is that everyone was confused because besides Orlando, Johnny and Keira, EVERYONE LOOKED EXACTLY ALIKE in the movie. It was very hard to keep things straight. I just want to see pirates, I don't want to THINK, OK??!?!?!
- Having said all of that, I do think #3 will be good and I will still go see it. They set it up well at the end of the movie, and come on - Keith Richards as Pirate Dad? I'll fork over $10 to see that.
Now on to other things - namely, the previews. There were some good ones.
1) "Transformers" - Yeah, you read that right. TRANSFORMERS. Of "More than meets the eye!" fame. The trailer didn't really show much, probably because it's not out until some time in 2007. But at the end some guy in front of us yelled out, "This is like a childhood fantasy come true!!!!" and everyone laughed.
2) "Night at the Museum" - This movie, to be released near the end of December, stars Ben Stiller as a new night watchman at the Museum of Natural History. When the museum closes, everything in it comes to life and wreaks havoc. With a supporting cast including Robin Williams, Owen Wilson and Ricky Gervais among many others, it looks like it's going to be very good. On top of the fact that I actually DO think things come to life in museums in the middle of the night!
3) "Talladega Nights - The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" - If you have not seen this trailer yet, and you like Will Ferrell, then you need to watch it right now. It is LONG past due for someone to make fun of the whole NASCAR scene. And the tagline for this movie is the best: "The story of a man who could only count to #1." Yes! It opens August 4th, and you know I will be there.
Friday, July 07, 2006
I REALLY like going to see movies.
And typically, if it's a movie that I am especially excited about, I try to go on opening night.
Why? Because the best people are at movies on opening night. People who actually CARE about the movie. People who are excited. People who emanate good vibes. People who wear awesome t-shirts like the one shown on this page (and if you don't know what that means but you care to find out, read this). People who, like me, are desperate for some escapism, to leave behind their realities of Workin' for The Man for a mere two hours and just BELIEVE that there ARE superheroes, or hobbits, or magical kid wizards, or pirates, or whatever suits your fancy.
So hear this: when those people, who wait in line for HOURS for that blissful experience in order to get a good seat on opening night, are interrupted by rude morons who attempt to cut into the line once it finally starts moving like no one is going to notice, they will show no mercy.
In case you don't understand what I am talking about... typically on opening night for any good movie, the line starts forming about 2-3 hours in advance (MUCH longer for something like Star Wars or LOTR, obviously...). At some point, the line gets too long for the barricades the movie theater has set up, and they typically start a second part of the line somewhere else. Hell hath no fury like people waiting in the first part of the line when they think a movie theater employee is not paying attention to them and may let the second-half-of-the-line-people in first. But that usually doesn't happen (I'm sure many an unsuspecting ticket-taker learned the hard way on that one). But what ALWAYS seems to happen is that there are a few scammers who come about a half-hour before the movie starts (which is when the line is usually let in), and they just try to "merge" into the long-established line.
While I admit I can get easily excited about things I'm passionate about, I'm still typically not a mean person. "Violence is not the answer," is a personal motto (often said jokingly when trying to calm myself or others down at work). However, if you cross me in a movie line, you will pay. It's like everyone in the line is already in their magical movieland world, so they actually think they have super powers or ninja skills and can take down people three times their size. A friend of mine witnessed this on opening night of Spiderman 2. We had been in line for hours and they were letting us in and people started jumping into the line and I just went crazy. She just stared, stunned. "Wow, you really ARE into this, aren't you?"
Yes, yes I am. I don't ask for much, I just want a little order. Is that so wroooonng?
So hear this: If you see me in line for Pirates of the Caribbean tonight, watch out. My fellow nerds with toy swords will certainly defend me if you attempt to sneak past...
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Paris Hilton has made it known that she wants to start a family soon. This scares the living crap out of me, because there are some people who should not procreate, and she is one of them.
I'll admit, I watched "The Simple Life" in its first season and thought it was hilarious. But both Paris and Nicole have fallen very far since then (and they were pretty low to begin with).
If you have ever seen an interview with Paris, you will know that she just giggles her way through any conversation and never has anything of value to say.
Exhibit #1 (excerpt from AP article when Paris was promoting her film "House of Wax"):
AP: So how would you describe your occupation?
Hilton: I don’t know. I’m an actress, a brand, a businesswoman. I’m all kinds of stuff.
AP: If you had to pick just one...
Hilton: An actress.
AP: So all of this — the partying, the modeling, the reality show — was just your journey to an acting career?
Hilton: Yeah, I guess.
AP: Do you read what’s written about you? Do you pick up the tabloids?
Hilton: I don’t read any of it. I just look at the pictures to see what I was wearing last week and if it was cute.
AP: Do you read blogs?
Hilton: What’s that?
AP: Um, they’re these things on the Internet where people write about news and stuff.
Hilton: No, I don’t really read anything on the Internet except my AOL mail. I don’t like people who sit on computers all day long and write about people they don’t know anything about.
AP: Paris, you just described my job.
Then there was her infamous testimony in the defamation case brought against her by an ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend (I'm not even going to try to explain)...
Exhibit #2 (excerpt from an article summarizing legal proceedings and testimony from the case mentioned above):
"Asked to remember who she was with in Kabaret on the night, she tells her perplexed lawyer, Larry Stein: "I meet so many people. I don't even know some of my friends' names."
When subsequently quizzed on the last name of a companion identified as Terry, the best she is able to offer is: "It is like a weird Greek name. Like Douglas." Later in the interview, the woman whose surname is synonymous with international travel shows an astonishing ignorance of geography.
Asked whether the offending newspaper article appeared in any "UK publications", she replied: "No. There is stuff in London."
When Mr Stein pointed out that "London is a UK publication", she conceded "Right. UK. Whatever."
She then blamed her confusion about where the article might have appeared on the fact that she had spent last summer in Europe, where English-language television and newspapers were, she said, unavailable.
"I was in Europe the whole summer, and all there is is like French," she explained. "I didn't see anything because I wasn't in America.""
I rest my case.
I was pleasantly surprised by Paris recently because her first single, "Stars are Blind," is not completely and utterly horrible. I was all geared up to totally trash it, too. Even though the video was boring, the song could've been worse and the album as a whole is actually getting fair reviews.
However, with her recent "I need to have kids soon" statement combined with her "I know I'm going to be a good mother because I'm a good mother to all of my animals" reasoning (hellloooo, does anyone remember the "Lost Tinkerbell" scandal???) is just too much.
Paris needs to stick to providing comedic relief (albeit unintentionally) to those of us who actually DO work for a living.
Monday, July 03, 2006
... go to the Taste of Chicago.
My friend (who lives out-of-state) and I have a long-standing tradition of going to the Taste of Chicago each summer. Is it typically pretty disgusting? Yes. It is always unbearably hot? Yes. Do we see more mullets than ever thought possible? Yes.
So why do we still go?
We still go because 1) while the atmosphere and crowd may be hard to bear, by and large the food is good, 2) it's a "tradition," and 3) it's a spectacle and we always come away with a few good stories.
This time, we started collecting stories before we even went to the festival. My friend had taken the train into Chicago and spent several hours talking with some women who were coming into the city to go to the Taste of Chicago for a full FOUR DAYS. They asked my friend, "Could you spend four days there?" and she was thinking, "Uh... I guess you could... if you want to guarantee yourself a heart attack." They also had no concept of what a normal city was like. They asked her questions such as:
"Is Chicago like the Vegas strip?"
"Where is the mall in Chicago?"
"How can we get from the hotel to the Taste?"
"Why is this train going underground?" (the train station is inside a building)
Anyway, we were REALLY hoping to run into them on Saturday, but alas, we did not.
Since the food vendors (nor their booth placements) do not change significantly year after year, my friend and I pretty much have our route down to a science. I will ALWAYS get the "taste portion" (which is smaller and costs less tickets) of the spinach deep dish pizza and the cheesy garlic bread, and I will also always get a huge chocolate-covered strawberry. This year I tried a few new things as well - toasted ravioli and a blackened shrimp skewer and side salad (that was from the upscale tent... and it was really good). Absolutely miraculously, both my friend and I used ALL our tickets - this has never happened. We always have a random one or two tickets left over that you can do nothing with, so we would give them to other people on our way out. But this time, it worked out perfectly and for some reason I felt a major sense of accomplishment over that.
As always, we witnessed a lot of idiots. Now remember, this event attracts literally millions of people. They are all crammed down a few streets moving in a slow shuffle from booth to booth. It was also probably 100 degrees with the humidity. Knowing all these things, I must ask WHY would anyone choose to: 1) walk their dog amongst the crowd, 2) bring a baby in a baby stroller, 3) come in a motorized wheelchair and ride right up on the heels of other people and/or 4) wear jeans and long sleeve coats. I never cease to be amazed at people who do these things, and there are always many.
Therefore, in order to not completely lose it, my friend and I have some rules when we go to the event. We basically just agree that we are going to completely "embrace the Taste" in all of its glory. You cannot go to this festival and expect that everyone's going to be polite. You cannot go and expect that you're not going to get all hot, sweaty and nasty. You cannot go and not expect to get your feet stepped on at least 5 times. You cannot go and expect no one to cut infront of you in line. You cannot go and not expect to be bumped into, pushed, jabbed or separated from your friend(s) in the crowd and experience several seconds of pure panic. But if you can set your expectations appropriately, than you can take the whole experience in stride and have a good time, and that is what we do. Mostly, everyone there is enjoying themselves and every once in a while they have some really good bands come and play for free (hello, Kenny Loggins in 2000! I'm alRIGHT! Don't nobody worry 'bout me.).
There were some problems this year, though. It was definitely the hottest year I remember, and I'm pretty sure I experienced heat stroke as my face puffed up like a red balloon and I felt like I was going to faint and I passed out for two hours after I got home and took a cool shower. Also, every once in a while a HUGE gust of wind would whip up and knock over all the trash cans and even some of the dining pavillion umbrellas. But overall, we persevered and have another year under our belts.
And no, I haven't stepped on the scale since!